Header 37 - Help Your Business Clients Understand the Benefits of Early Return-to-Work Programs

Help Your Business Clients Understand the Benefits of Early Return-to-Work Programs


By Edmund Dabrowski, Senior VP of Workers' Comp

According to the Department of Labor (DOL), many workers who are recovering from an illness or accident could effectively remain in their jobs part-time and in some capacity if they receive timely, effective intervention provided by early return-to-work programs.

Aimed at assisting employees during their recovery get back to work as soon as they are medically able to do so, early return-to-work programs help workers feel productive and valued by staying connected to their workplace during the recuperation process.

Whether one seeks a fulfilling career path, a chance to pursue specific interests within the industry, or a flexible work schedule, insurance emerges as a versatile and accommodating choice.

Benefits of Early Return-to-Work Programs for Businesses

Key benefits of early return-to-work programs for employers with workers who are medically able to return to work while recovering include:

1. Lower workers’ compensation insurance costs

How soon an employee is able to return to work can significantly impact a work comp claim. Employees who can return to work part-time and in some capacity (such as light duty or with restrictions) until they are fully recovered and can resume responsibilities of their regular job, will collect fewer work comp and disability benefits.

A report by the DOL revealed that early return-to-work programs effectively reduce work comp insurance costs by 16% to 32%, with a net benefit to the employer of $536 to $2,017 per worker.* Other research estimates that injured/ill workers who are collecting work comp insurance and who take part in these programs return to work an average of 1.4 times sooner compared to those not enrolled in a program.

2. Retain experienced workers

Employees who remain at home for an extended period while recovering can feel disconnected from their workplace. This can lead to a diminished sense of purpose that stems from having a daily work routine. In some instances, workers may consider a position with another company or even drop out of the workforce altogether. When valued employees leave a company, the businesses must go through the process and expense of hiring temporary workers or recruiting and training replacements.

An early return-to-work program can help employees stay engaged with their employer and workplace, giving them the encouragement and a sense of purpose to stick around. Many programs offer assessments that can help employers find or even create specific positions within their company that workers can fill during the recovery process. In fact, research shows that an early return-to-work program can help reduce the average number of days a worker is away from their job by as much as 70%.

3. Maintain business continuity

Programs that help employees participate in the workplace until they are fully recovered allows workers to contribute to the success of the business. For example, an injured worker with specific light-duty restrictions and/or who can’t jump back into their old job right away may be able to take advantage of other opportunities within their workplace while recovering.

Many early return-to-work programs assist employers in making specific accommodations for workers, such as modifying workspaces so employees can continue to contribute to the business. This can also help experienced employees retain skills that are valuable to the business.

Out of the 47% of women in the U.S. workforce, 1.7% are employed in the insurance industry, according to a 2022 survey [...]

Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022


Research shows that most workers desire to return to their jobs early in their recovery period. Employers with some type of early return-to-work program can help accommodate these employees by giving them the option of returning to work as soon as they are medically able to do so.

* Depending on the type of program and characteristics of the worker.

Edmund Dabrowski is the Senior VP of Workers' Comp at BTIS. For additional information, email edabrowski@btisinc.com.

Builders & Tradesmen’s Insurance Services Inc.

BTIS is committed to providing robust, individualized products and the highest level of service. Our easy-to-use commercial insurance platform, educational tools, and helpful underwriters make it simple for producers to diversify their books of business by expanding their product portfolios.

Part of the Amynta Group, BTIS is a nationwide insurance intermediary with a small-business attitude. We believe in building solid relationships through communication and a genuine concern for the success of our retail broker clients and the policyholders they serve.

For additional information, visit www.btisinc.com or call (877) 649-6682

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